Here we are week six post gastric bypass surgery.  It seems like six minutes.  Time has flown.  We have finally reached the point in the recovery process to where we can go back to “life as normal.”  Well, almost normal.  The most exciting part is there is a new normal that is even better than the old normal.  After the first two weeks of a liquid only diet and four weeks of puree food we are now back to eating a regular diet.  The regular diet is high protein, low carbohydrates, and low sugar.  It’s amazing how many foods are high in carbs and sugar.  The high carbs and sugar is what not only puts the weight on but also depletes your energy.  As most of you know when we started this journey I am also a participant.  I changed my diet from a very high carb, high sugar, and high fat diet to a high protein, low carb diet.  And it really really works!!

lost three pounds since last week.  started the week at 221 pounds

June 25th, 2016 — Week 6
[218 lbs]

This journey of a healthy lifestyle began six years ago when we began running in half marathons and 5K’s.  Just exercise wasn’t enough to help lose the weight.  It wasn’t until December 2015 when Kevin had a health scare that we got real serious about our diet.  As I mentioned above our diet was high carbs, high sugar, and high fat.  This diet is a heart attack waiting to happen!  When we attended the workshop on gastric bypass we knew diet was the biggest change that needed to be made.  The first meeting with Dr. Radecke (from Sebastian River Medical Center) told us both “The first thing that should pass your lips is protein. If it isn’t protein spit it out!”  We were then given a list of foods full of protein, when I looked at the list I said to myself, “I can do this!”  It had all of my favorite foods; steak, chicken, pork, cheese, and eggs just to name a few.  The hard part was to dump the bread, pasta, rice, Hershey kisses (that I love), and chocolate chip cookies.

It took me two months to ween off of all the high carbs that I ate first, but once I got myself on a regular high protein 60 grams a day diet I began to feel better.  I have much more energy than I’ve ever had, plus since April I have lost over 14lbs!  I haven’t been this weight since my 30’s and it feels great!  Kevin has lost almost 77 lbs.  Getting back to the “big people food, he’s able to tolerate most foods.  What he needs to be mindful of is to eat slow and eat less.  The portion sizes have decreased in six weeks.  The benefits of eating a high protein diet is you eat less, feel full, keeps you full, and you aren’t hungry throughout the day.  And your energy level is through the roof!  High protein/low carb diet is the key to wellness.


WEEK 5: Cleaning out the Closet and Drawers

I can’t believe it’s been 5 weeks since Kevin’s gastric bypass surgery.  Since March Kevin has lost an amazing 60 lbs.  When he weighed in for his first appointment in February his weight was the highest it had ever been, at 283 lbs.  He was dangerously approaching 300 lbs.  His health was failing and he was tired all the time.  I think he was tired because he was frustrated that he was gaining weight and had been unsuccessful losing and maintaining the weight.  But he is a different person now weighing in this week at 220 lbs.  We laughed together when he said, “I haven’t weighed 220 since I was in my 30’s.”  Wow, that’s 20 years ago!  His lowest weight since then has been about 240-250.  Every day he hops on the scale he loses more.  It’s definitely melting away.  And this week as we were out on one of our runs he couldn’t fasten his shorts tight enough and they began to fall down!  I said, “It’s time to buy new clothes.”

lost seven pounds since last week.  started the week at 228 pounds

June 18th, 2016 — Week 5
[221 lbs]

Since he works from home and wears mostly shorts and tee-shirts all day we decided to stop at Sports authority (which by the way is going out of business).  All of their clothes were 20% off this week.  We decided to take advantage of this sale.  Needless to say we spent about $500 on new clothes, shoes, and other sports gear.  We spent most of the day in the store.  For those that know me, I hate shopping!  But I had a ball watching him buy his new clothes. He was so excited about his new size; he was like a kid getting a whole new wardrobe.  His pant size went from an XXL or XL to a Large!  When he got home he didn’t realize he could have actually fit into a medium!  But the large fit him perfect.

When we arrived home with all our buys of the day he cleaned out his drawers and closet.  He had some clothes that he couldn’t fit in before and came out modeling his new look.  He was so excited when he came out with his old Air Force field jacket and he could zip it up!  He hadn’t attempted to put that on in almost 28 years!  Amazing.  He was beaming from ear to ear and had it on for at least an hour.  When it was all said and done he had an overflowing box filled of clothes.  This morning he went to the Goodwill and donated all his clothes that no longer fit.  (he did come home with two used pair of pants size 40; in case he needs to go out in public)

This journey to wellness has been exciting.  It’s also been a lot of hard work.  I too have switched my diet to a high protein/low carb diet.  As of today I have lost 10 lbs.  I have another 5-7 to go to reach my goal.  I know I will reach my goal.   Kevin has 40 lbs. more until he reaches his ultimate goal, and from there it’s all about maintain. It will awesome to see him reach that goal.  He has never been below 185 in his adult life.  Who knows his he may be fitting into a medium yet!  With proper diet and consistent exercise, you too can be on the road to wellness.

Week 4: Post Bariatric Surgery: The Results Are In!

We are now one month post bariatric surgery, and it’s been a whirlwind since last December.  I mentioned in last week’s blog post Kevin had his first set of lab work since pre-surgery.  If you remember I said his excitement about his blood work got the best of him and he had some dumping issues because he drank his protein drink very fast.  That was last week! And the results of his blood work post-surgery are in!  Before I get to the results I want to talk a bit about the major changes that have occurred over the past six months.

lost two pounds since last week.  started the week at 230 pounds

June 9th, 2016 — Week 4
[228 lbs]

The decision for gastric bypass surgery was not a fast one.  Matter of fact we have spent many years on the diet roller coaster thinking we can just lose weight and maintain it ourselves.  Ten years ago we talked about the lap band (which is less drastic than the full gastric bypass), but we decided against it.  I don’t think Kevin was quite ready to make such a drastic decision. Even though he was about 100 pounds overweight.  In the past ten years he has struggled to have a normal blood panel. Every panel stated in big bold letters, “High Risk.” It never seemed to alarm him to change his diet or lifestyle.  Even when he got the diagnosis six years ago of full blown diabetes. It didn’t seem to scare him into making a lifestyle change.  He just wasn’t ready.

The last blood work up before he made his decision for a positive change came in November when his liver enzymes came back out of whack.  And what really got his attention to make a real change was a cat scan.   He had a scan to check for a hernia and instead of finding a hernia they found “Fatty deposits on his liver.”  He had what was called, “Fatty liver disease.”  You kinda need your liver to function.  He had a few more labs taken before surgery and all were a “Fail.”  He failed every category on the sheet!  If that doesn’t get your attention nothing will.  He was a bit nervous on Friday about his lab work, but was confident the results were going to be positive.

He had an appointment with his endocrinologist on Friday.  For days he was anxious about his results.  His goal was to fire his endocrinologist because his blood sugar readings have all been normal since surgery and he has discontinued all diabetes medications.  As he entered the doctor’s office and signed in everyone from the secretary to the nurse to the doctor did a double take.  They wanted to know what happened to Kevin. He was a bit smaller. He proudly said, “I’m four weeks post gastric bypass.”  They all smiled and congratulated him on his weight loss.  As he stepped on the scale he weighed in at 228!  The last time he weighed in a little over 280!  Amazing he has lost almost 60 lbs. in the past three months and continues to drop.

The nurse was so happy she gave placed a gold star on his shirt (which he proudly sported home).  When the doctor entered the room he could not believe this was the same person sitting on the table.  He was amazed at the weight loss.  He was even more amazed at all his reports.  They were nearly perfect!!  His A1C level was 6.1 (which means there is an increased risk for diabetes). However, he missed the normal range by a few fractions.  The normal A1C level is less than 5.7!  The last lab report stated his A1C level was 9.1!  Major difference.  All other labs were in the normal range.  His Cholesterol was 177, previously 298, liver enzymes reading were remarkable. His AST was 23, previous reading 50, and ALT 28, previously it was 84. This was the big one! He was ecstatic by the results along with the Doctor!  He couldn’t believe what he was reading. The new bold message at the bottom of his lab work read, “BELOW AVERAGE RISK.”  We are so grateful for the entire Bariatric Team at Sebastian River Medical Center.  They have touched and forever changed our lives!

Wellness is the key to Riches Week 3 Post Bariatric Surgery: Dumping is not fun

If you want to live a healthy lifestyle it’s imperative to dump your unhealthy habits. It’s easy to develop bad habits. It’s hard to change our bad habits and once changed even harder to maintain the good ones.  Kevin had an experience this past Friday he wishes to not repeat. He was excited to have his first round of blood work since his surgery in the hopes his A1C levels were down to less than 5.7%; aka normal meaning his diabetes is in full remission. Since his surgery he has discontinued all his diabetes medications and his daily blood sugar levels have been normal. This is the good news, great actually.

lost seven pounds since last week. started the week at 237 pounds

June 2nd, 2016 — Week 3
[230 lbs]

However, on Friday his excitement soon turned to dread. His blood work consisted of fasting that morning. I knew if he didn’t eat he would crash. I suggested he take a protein drink with him to the lab so he could get something in his stomach after the blood draw. He said, “Yep that’s what I was planning to do.” I replied, “Cool!”  Needless to say, he forgot his protein drink! Not a good idea. By the time he arrived home it was after 10 a.m. He was in a hurry to log back into his computer for work, but he was starving. He quickly grabbed a protein drink and in a matter of less than a minute downed it! He was still feeling hungry after the protein drink and ate a spoonful or two of cottage cheese. Which was a very big NO, NO! His brain said, “I can do this, eat fast, eat standing up, and eat on the run. I know what I’m doing.” His new stomach disagreed, and said, “Oh, what did I just do? I feel sick!” Houston we had a major problem!

We were reminded at every doctor appointment the consequences of keeping the old habits of shoving food down, eating while standing, and eating on the run. The doctor looked him in the eye and said, “You will never eat the same again. You can never put too much all at once in your stomach or it will cause a dumping syndrome.” Dumping syndrome is when you put too much in your stomach at once and it all comes back up, and you dump what you’ve just eaten. He’s been reminded to take it slow and enjoy his food. He is still eating puree food until July 1st so his stomach is still relatively new. He can’t do what he did with his “old” stomach as what he’s doing with his “new” stomach. When I arrived home from work and saw he looked a bit green I asked, “Are you ok?” He said, “No. I just got a taste dumping syndrome.” His stomach hurt, it was too full, he was vomiting, and some heaving for about 1-2 hours. He realized his old habits of grabbing food and downing it was no longer an option.

Old habits are hard to break.   The brain says, “Go ahead. It will be ok You’ve done this before.” But the body says, “Hey, you have a new stomach and it’s not ok.” If you want to make changes you have to follow all the rules. Rule number 1: Eat slowly. Rule number 2: Eat at the table sitting down. Rule number 3: Eat small amounts, and rule number 4: remember your protein drink before leaving the house for lab work. Dumping the old habits are not fun, but you can learn to retrain your brain and implement good eating habits.  Your health is the key to life’s riches.